The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare is the latest film from Director Guy Ritchie and seeks to fuse the filmmaker’s chaotic touch with a true story of spycraft in World War II. Based on the historical book of the same name, The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare forgoes a direct adaptation and plays the events with some distinct bombastic flavor. The result is a fun film that threads the needle between explosive action, espionage intrigue, and snarky banter.

While it may not be the most historically accurate film ever produced, The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare remains a fun spectacle. The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare focuses on a rag-tag group of soldiers recruited by Brigadier Gubbins (Cary Elwes). Gubbins is an ally of Winston Churchill (Rory Kinnear), both of whom seek to destabilize the German war effort. One of their best chances comes when they discover a crucial piece of German Naval superiority is open for attack. Gubbins recruits Gus March-Phillips (Henry Cavill) to lead a band of men to destroy the boats. The film splits attention between March-Phillips and the spies already on the island, like Mr. Heron (Babs Olusanmokun) and Marjorie Stewart (Eiza González)


Alongside March-Phillips is Anders Lassen (Alan Ritchson), Freddy Alvarez (Henry Golding), Geoffrey Appleyard (Alex Pettyfer), and Henry Hayes (Hero Fiennes Tiffin). The band of killers with vendettas against the Nazis is exactly the chaotic force the Allies need. Meanwhile, Mr. Heron and Marjorie Stewart work in secret on the island to lure the Nazis into an ideal trap. While the film takes some clear fun in expanding on the action of the true life story, The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare finds an enjoyable balance between historical drama and gritty action. It does this while indulging in the most visually entertaining elements of a spy film.

The tone of the film fits well into Guy Ritchie’s wheelhouse, especially given his past films. Ritchie established himself with movies like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch. That gritty edge has remained a core element of his subsequent films. Ritchie does something similar in in his takes on Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, and Aladdin, and it proves to be an ideal approach to March-Phillips and his group. The five men at the heart of the film thrive with a mixture of charm and chaos, something Cavill relishes in. As March-Phillips, Cavill is clearly having a blast blending high society with a goofball killer.


Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

The rest of the cast of The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare matches that slightly campy energy. Alan Ritchson especially adjusting well to his slightly goofy accent and performance. If the film was more dramatic, it would be distracting. In a film where Lassen casually leaves several Nazis full of holes with a bow and arrow, it works. The result is a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously but also never necessarily winks at the audience. Tense moments are undercut with a cool line and an action beat. It detracts from the drama, but exemplifies the film’s sense of fun.

At the end of the day, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare benefits from a chaotic tone. The film’s tension does suffer over time. This is especially true as the third act transforms into an extended action scene from Call of Duty. It’s far from the most dramatic or realistic World War II movie. Instead, it indulges in the visceral cinematic joy of watching Nazis dying in creative ways. Luckily, the cast and creatives behind the film find the visceral fun in the premise. While it may not be the most impressive World War II film ever made, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare certainly has the most fun.

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